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You know how they say, hindsight is 20/20?
It took me over two years of blogging (hobby and serious) to get why some people are able to master their traffic and income and why some never will.
To get why amateur bloggers are called that for a reason.
I want you to NOT make the same mistakes I did, and save a lot of precious time trying to figure stuff out.
Here are some common mistakes amateur bloggers make and how you can avoid them:
- Mistake #1: Having no idea who you are writing for.
- Mistake #2: Trying to master 5 platforms at the same time.
- Mistake #3: Thinking having a wordpress.com blog was a REAL blog.
- Mistake #4 Not having a clear niche and blog strategy.
- Mistake #5 Not having a clear monetization strategy.
- Mistake #6 Not investing in the right tools to grow my blog.
- Mistake #7 Having no clue how important an email list was.
Mistake #1: Having no idea who you are writing for.
Writing blog posts with no idea who your average target reader is is a bit like shooting rockets in a random manner, hoping one will land on a planet with life on it.
NOPE. It doesn’t work that way.
You need to spend time understanding WHO it is that is reading your blog.
What do they do in their free time?
How educated are they?
What other interests do they have?
How likely are they to come back to your blog?
Action Tip: Go to your Google Analytics-> Audience->Demographics/Interests
You will find a ton of information here about who is interacting with you and why. Select the last six months or more to have a fair assessment.
For checking out top content, go to Google Analytics-> Behaviour-> Site Content/Landing Pages and see what’s your most popular content.
Try to draw inferences there and see how you can best create content that people WANT to read.
⇒Bottom Line: Research, write and create with the target reader in mind.
Mistake #2: Trying to master 5 platforms at the same time.
If you are an average blogger, chances are you also have a day job, clients, freelance work or a family to look after. One of the biggest mistakes I made was turning my hair grey spending hours on Instagram and Facebook trying to grow my audience “organically”.
You know how much traffic that got me? Less than 500 views a month.
They say the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
There is a difference between “hustling” and “going insane”.
If your end goal is traffic and income, and you start with a FB or IG following of 1000 people, you can forget that this will convert to blog traffic anytime soon.
In fact if your following is anything less than 10K on either of these platforms, I would set them on autopilot using scheduling tools and bid goodbye to traffic generation.
I would focus on mastering 1 platform that brings the maximum traffic and supplementing that with more.
The same goes for FB threads. Seriously. I find them to be so exhausting and a master waste of time as the people who check out your blog is unlikely to come back ever again.
I would rather invest my time in a platform that brings consistent, sustainable traffic with minimum effort.
This platform for me is Pinterest.
The platform helped me understand my content strategy.
It helped me understand viral content creation.
It brings me an average of 30-40K page views from Pinterest alone and that’s with a full-time job.
Resources to master Pinterest:
- Beginner Guide To Pinterest Traffic
- 7 Tips For Boosting Pinterest Traffic
- How To Get 10K-50K Monthly Page Views From Pinterest (eCourse)
Bottom Line: Don’t be a slave to 5 platforms at the same time. Figure out the 1 that matters and master it.
Mistake #3: Thinking having a wordpress.com blog was a REAL blog.
I swear I wish someone had just told me that running a blog on wordpress.com would NEVER be able to make me any money.
I wasted a full year trying to understand “wordpress.com”, wasting $25/month on the most expensive plan foolishly believing that I was on the right track.
I was so far from right, that I want to kick myself for having wasted all this time.
The sad truth, and listen up, is that you need to move to a SELF-HOSTED blog if you ever want to make money.
WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to add a bunch of plugins, the ability to add advertisements and a million other things unless you pay a ridiculous amount and even then getting sponsors with a domain hosted on WordPress is also a dead-end.
I have written a detailed tutorial on how to migrate.
If you haven’t already, you can also enroll in my free blogging for beginners course.
Bottom Line: If you want to make money blogging, switch to a self-hosted platform. It’s not as hard as you think, and 200% worth it.
Resources For Making Money Blogging:
– Travel Blog Affiliate List : 80+ Programs, 1 list
– How Do Bloggers Make Money: Fundamentals of blog monetization
– How I Made My First $1000: And it took 8 months, btw!
Mistake #4 Not having a clear niche and blog strategy.
I’ve been blogging, first on my expat blog and now on this blog for over two years. I have moved from lifestyle and travel to travel and career and now to travel and entrepreneurship.
I’ve finally made my peace with this niche as these are the two main themes I feel most passionate about and can write the most about to.
There is no one fixed way to do it. But without knowing WHAT you are writing for, and WHO you are writing for, it’s really hard to grow.
In my opinion, when blogging is considered like a business, the more specific you know your offering is.
In this case your product is your content and if you don’t know who that is for, which sector is it in and which problem it solves, then well, you’re lost.
You may be passionate about a ton of things, but how many can you write like 500 posts on that would ALSO have the ability to be monetised.
My tip on narrowing down your niche. Focus on these 3:
You breathe day in and day out. What makes your heart race. What excites you. What makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. That’s your PASSION.
For me that passion is travel. I have bucket lists that like go on till 2045. Yes, I’m that crazy.
I am never not thinking about my next trip. Even if my bank balance is in the negative and I cannot even afford to eat out, let alone go to Bolivia.
The second thing I’m extremely passionate about is empowering people to take risks. The reason I started to blog was not only to share my journey but also to make other girls especially from India see that this was POSSIBLE.
It was POSSIBLE to leave everything behind and start from scratch.
This is also the reason my focus has shifted to online entrepreneurship and why I created Digital Empires.
Now, think about what this means for you? What can you not stop talking about? What’s your obsession?
Find a topic(s), you can talk and share endlessly about. Remember the business of blogging is LONG.
If you’re in it for the long haul, what is something you can write about for the next 3-5 years without ever running out?
This is also why micro-niche sites should be carefully vetted.
You want to be in a niche that is broad enough for you to cover a variety of topics yet narrow enough to offer a competitive edge over everyone else.
3. ABILITY TO MONETIZE
The third but most critical element to your final niche is how well this topic can be monetised.
When I think travel, I think advertisers, tourism agencies, governments that want to promote a billion dollar industry that grows bigger each year.
When I think dog products, I think of companies that sell dog products, and that by default is a small market. It doesn’t mean there is not a lot of money in this niche. It just means it will be THAT MUCH HARDER without an unfair advantage.
An unfair advantage here would be that you are a famous dog trainer and a sort of semi-celebrity in this field. Starting a blog in this field would then be an extension of your brand and could be monetised extremely well.
For the rest of us regular non-famous beings, it PAYS OFF quite literally to think this step through.
To sum it up,
PASSION + DEPTH + MONETIZATION = FUNDAMENTALS OF A GOOD ONLINE BUSINESS
Mistake #5 Not having a clear monetization strategy.
Alright, this is not so much a mistake as it is a lack of knowledge.
I really think that if I invested MORE into learning about blogging instead of being hell-bent on DIY’ing everything, I could have figured out this stuff sooner.
I guess this is also a MAJOR problem almost all new bloggers face as every niche, individual person and type of person responds to different things.
In my niche, I have FINALLY come to the conclusion that the 2 ways I want to monetise this blog are :
I love that this monetization method is entirely passive. The only thing I need to keep flowing is traffic, and of late I am doing an okay job with that.
I know that at some point this income strategy will level off, but I am like 400K page views away from that level. So we’ll talk more when I get there!
2. Digital Products
I love creating these, I have professional/academic expertise and these feel the most authentic way for me to connect with my audience as well as create an income source.
Over the next year, I plan to launch a ton of more marketing/online business related products. You can have a look at my shop to see what’s in the making.
You can read all my past income reports and what I learned from them here:
- Indian Girling is 1 – How This Blog Went From Zero to $800 Per Month
- Blog Income Report: How I Made My First $1000 With A Part-Time Travel Blog
- Can You Make Money From A Travel Blog? How I Made $426 In Three Months
Mistake #6 Not investing in the right tools to grow my blog.
Would you start a business with zero capital?
Not if you want to make a solid income or profit out of it.
The same goes into the business of blogging.
You have to invest in the right blogging tools if you want to grow. There is no other way of going around it.
It doesn’t have to be $500 a month if you’re making nothing from your blog currently.
You can start with $5 or $50 a month and slowly work your way up before you start to actually see money come in.
My income grew faster when I started to invest in the right tools to grow my blog.
Some of these tools that I swear by are:
My email list has grown twice as fast using ConvertKit as I did with Mailchimp for the last one year. This is not only because its a SUPER EASY platform to use, but also how flexible it is to integrate with your website. I love the forms and landing pages I can design in under 10 minutes, add them to my blog and create email sequences super fast.
Although Mailchimp is a good start for beginners, I am never going back to it. The free plan on Mailchimp changed and now you can only create two email lists (segments) which is way too less for me.
I currently have 10+ email optin offers on my blog and I could never imagine doing this as easily with Mailchimp.
I couldn’t imagine my life with Tailwind. I’m so happy with this product that I am on their annual plan.
I couldn’t get as much traffic with Pinterest as I do with them.
If you are a blogger and you haven’t mastered traffic with Pinterest, the following posts might be helpful:
- The Ultimate Pinterest SEO and Rich Pins Guide
- Pinterest Marketing Strategy To Drive Insane Traffic To Your Website
Mistake #7 Having no clue how important an email list was.
I don’t think I knew what this was until a year and a half ago.
This was also a major reason why I decided to narrow my niche and start a new blog with a new domain name all over.
Once I had a clear niche, I wanted to have a clear list building and growth strategy.
I set myself a simple target of getting 1000 email subscribers in the first year, and I’m so happy I crossed that already.
Having a social media strategy and using social media marketing is NOT ENOUGH.
If you’d like to monetize your blog one day, you need a targeted audience that trusts you, looks up to you for support and would be willing to buy any future products you may create.
So if you haven’t already started, get started today! I also have a free mini-course to help you get started ⇓
So that’s all of the major amateur blogging mistakes I made.
Are you making one of these blogging mistakes too?
Pick one mistake that you can fix, and start today!
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Hello/Namaste! I’m Shruti, the founder of Indian Girling & Digital Empires. Two years ago, I left my post-MBA life in India to chase a new adventure. After living in four different countries, I now call Germany home.
I believe in creating a life you love, one that you do not need a vacation from. On this website, you will find tips on how to travel Europe on a budget, travel hacks and how to grow an online business. You can connect with me on Facebook, Instagram or subscribe to get the latest updates.
When I’m on the road, I trust and use:
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